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  • Writer's pictureJohn Larrimer

Has OSHA Banned Union Reps From Their Worksite Inspections?

In 2013, The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) expanded their ruling to allow union employees who didn’t work at the company being inspected to accompany OSHA officials during worksite inspections. This allowed them to offer feedback directly to the OSHA representative. Republicans and small businesses, saying it is a way for unions to intimidate them, have opposed the ruling. OSHA pulled this mandate last week, now reverting the rule to what it was, which allows only employees of the company being inspected to accompany OSHA representatives. This rule allows employees to interact with OSHA representatives without management supervision, a great safety net for employees. Another resource for worker safety is joining a union.

When Should You Request Your Worksite to Be Inspected?

Anytime you have brought a potential workplace hazard to the attention of your employer and they are not making efforts to fix it, or are denying that it puts your safety at risk, you should contact OSHA for a worksite inspection. The number of inspectors are fewer than the number of jobsites, so it may take some time to get an inspection. In most cases, OSHA will send a letter to your employer about the citation to get them to look into fixing in before the inspection. If the situation is deemed to be urgent, OSHA may come out before notifying the employer of the issue.

Who Can Join a Union?

Any employee can join a union under the National Labor Relations Act. An employer cannot discriminate or threaten to fire you for joining a union, or attempting to start one in your workplace. However, independent contractors do not have all of the same rights as employees.

What Are the Benefits of Joining a Union?

Increased wages, better heath coverage, retirement plans, and being able to communicate with other workers in your industry are great benefits for employees. Union Collective Bargaining Agreements also protect employees from being unjustly fired by establish that employers need to have a legitimate cause to fire employees.

Is your employer refusing to correct a safety issue? You should consider contacting OSHA for an inspection, and consider joining an employee union. If you have been injured or suffered hardship at the workplace after being exposed to a safety hazard, contact a Columbus workers compensation attorney to review your case today.

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